Let’s assume, for a moment, that Environmental Decontamination Following a Large-Scale Bioterrorism Attack: Federal Progress and Remaining Gaps is a typical security proviso put together by well-meaning scientists and read by interested parties whose sole concern is that of minimal loss of life in the event of bioterrorism: lines like the following describe the potential scale of the crisis:
A large-scale biological attack would likely result in a greater amount of contamination, more areas that need to be cleaned and made safe, and a much greater cost to the American public.
The Federation of American Scientists Strategic Security blog summarizes some of the report’s most disturbing findings:
Multiple Federal agencies have potentially conflicting responsibilities in the aftermath of an attack. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation would be sampling the site for a criminal investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency would be working on decontamination and the Department of Health and Human Services (home of the Centers for Disease Control) would be tracking the epidemiology of any disease outbreak.
From the perspective of an enterprising (if soulless) plutocrat who stands to benefit from federally-subsidized cleanup efforts and, perhaps, gain a competitive advantage by shutting down competition (or regulators – come on now, like Building 7 collapsed of its own accord?) this means that:
- Damage – and the ensuing cleanup effort’s costs – will be maximal (you hear that, Halliburton?)
- There will likely be no means for identifying the culprit – evidence will be swept away with the cleanup efforts and far too many different agencies will be working in dis-concert to pose any real threat of identification and culpability
Risk:Reward ratio looks right – release those germs if ‘ya got ‘em…